Getting paid on time is unfortunately never a guarantee for freelancers. Sometimes clients forget or regard freelancers as not a priority when it comes to their list of people to pay.
Write up a contract
Having a written record of your agreement will help if you ever need to take the client to court. Hopefully, it won’t come to that and the client will simply pay. A written contract helps your case and will in most cases be a deterrent to any late or non-payments.
Late payment policy
Most people who have been at this for a while will have a late payment policy in place. All freelancers experience them at some point. It’s more common than we’d like. So one way to deter clients from paying late is to make it clear you have a late payment fee.
It’s up to you how much you want to charge, whether it’s a flat out fee or a percentage of your original fee. Make sure they’re aware of it at the start and that it’s in your contract. Again, this will hopefully act as a deterrent but if not, at least you’re compensated for your wait.
Get your invoices sent out promptly
Sometimes freelancers simply forget to send invoices and it’s not that the client is ignoring them. So make sure you’ve got an organised system in place where you send out invoices as soon as the work is completed.
One way to help you with this is to get into cloud accounting. Most software now has an invoice tool that will help you build and send them to your clients as well as any necessary reminders.
Get upfront payments
A lot of freelancers will ask for an upfront payment once you’ve agreed to do the work. This is to protect you in case that late payment turns into a no payment. At least you’ll have something. Getting a payment upfront will also make the client less likely to cancel the project or disappear because they’ve already invested money in you.
Make it easy for them
You want to make it as easy as possible for a client to pay you. Make sure you’re using methods that are accessible to them as well as sending out invoices and reminders wherever necessary.
Maintain a good client relationship
Keeping on good terms with your clients is important for many reasons. It makes the process easier, makes them more likely to pay and also more likely to use your services again. If things get off to a bad start for whatever reason, you don’t want that fact clouding their judgement when it comes to paying you. Make sure you’re friendly, approachable and helpful and clients will want to return the favour.
Don’t deliver work until you’re paid
This might seem overly cautious, but it’s another layer of protection for you. Unfortunately, there are some bad clients out there who will take your work and simply not pay. This is more likely when you don’t have a contract in place but luckily most clients will pay what they’ve agreed to.
Have you had trouble with clients paying late? How did you handle it? Let us know your thoughts.